Monday, February 24, 2020

REVIEW: '9-1-1: Lone Star' - Owen Fights to Prove His Value While Michelle Pursues a Strong Lead in 'Bum Steer'

FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star - Episode 1.07 "Bum Steer"

Owen and the team race to deal with a runaway bull at a used car lot and an apparent electrocution at the hands of an LA transplant. Owen is determined to prove he is physically fit for the job while undergoing chemo. Michelle gets the strongest lead yet on her missing sister.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's 9-1-1: Lone Star.

"Bum Steer" was written by Jill Snyder and directed by John J. Gray

The 9-1-1 franchise fundamentally tells stories about idealism and heroism frequently on display amongst first responders. These people sacrifice their lives in order to save others in their times of need. It's so life-affirming even when it can also be silly to see the ridiculous emergencies people find themselves in. The stories can be heartbreaking and tragic as well. There are so many disasters out there that can rip people away from their loved ones. It bonds the people who serve in the same firehouse together. It makes it so the team at the 126 is stunned to learn that Captain Strand has cancer and didn't tell them when recruiting them to come work in Austin. That feels like a betrayal. And yet, it's also part of a pattern for Owen. He frequently takes things too far just in order to prove that he can still perform in that way. The fire brass aren't forcing him to take this test to show that he can still meet the physical demands of the job. It's the way that Owen himself believes he can show his worth to them. He can't do it with the demands he has put on himself though. His team is encouraging of him no matter what. And yet, they fear what will happen when he fails. Their lives will be unraveled once more. Their jobs aren't safe in a city that still looks at them as if they don't belong. Judd doesn't understand that at first. He is the straight white man who has called this firehouse home for his entire career. This is new for everyone else. They have to fight to prove their worth and earn their place. Owen embodies a sense of protectiveness amongst this family. It can be a scary prospect when that is at risk of being taken away. It may be entirely Owen's fault as well. He wasn't open about his diagnosis. That showed his potential shortcomings as a leader. The physical demands of the job don't indicate whether or not someone can be trusted leading their own team. Owen was approached for this job for a reason. He had the honor of building it up to show what firefighters have the potential to be. It's important for so many underrepresented groups to be seen as the heroes of the story. Owen offers that potential to his team. They have stepped up in service of that goal. Owen may be failing them though. He put his vanity ahead of their stability. And now, it is all at risk. That is a precarious place for the story at the moment. That makes it odd that it is wrapped up in such a brief two-episode arc with Billy Burke coming in as a new antagonist for Owen. There are absolutely attempts to make Billy a more complicated character in this world. However, he does come across as the mustache-twirling villain who comes along in order to stir the pot when needed. Owen's secret had to be outed. He had to fight to prove his worth and that he belongs here just as much as the rest of his team. It provides an opportunity for the team to show their support for him. It's the same kindness he has extended to them throughout the season. But it's still a story that concludes with Billy getting struck by lightning while out on the golf course. Owen carrying him to safety is all that it takes to wash away any doubts about his ability to lead. Again, the physical prowess isn't the only requirement of this job. He has to be effective in maintaining the safety of his team no matter what. They continue to face perilous emergencies every shift. A bull is on the loose at the top of this hour. Meanwhile, Michelle continues to deal with the emotional turmoil of figuring out what happened to her sister. That plot has been steadily picking up steam throughout the season. Now, she may have answers in a truck that went off the road. It's a cliffhanger for now where she fears for the worst. That may indicate that another twist is coming at some point. She too can be reckless with how bold she reacts without thinking through the potential consequences. She respects people only when they open up to her. That can be a character flaw. However, this search for answers has been the core story for her this season. She has to be defined by so much more than that even if this mystery will inform whatever she becomes afterwards. That's the scary part of life. These relationships form and are continually tested. Each person has to actively choose how to act and why. Those decisions make up one's character and that is highlighted in each story told in this series.